Sometimes people don't realize their true callings until later in life. For individuals who wish to change direction mid-career and become teachers, West Virginia offers a number of alternative teacher certification programs that will help get them on the right track toward a career in education.
Interested in learning about the traditional approach? Contact schools offering teaching certification programs in West Virginia.
Alternative certification may only be offered due to employment shortages in a school district, allowing a school to quickly find a qualified teacher candidate. Alternative certification programs are limited to the middle school and high school level.
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To be eligible to enroll in an alternative teacher certification program, a candidate must first hold a bachelor's degrees from an accredited university, in addition to an overall 2.5 GPA.
Currently, West Virginia offers three general education alternative certification programs which may be found here.
During their alternative teacher preparation programs, candidates complete a minimum 18 semester hours in general teaching areas. Some of these include:
Alternative certification seekers must pass PRAXIS I Pre-Professional Skills tests that qualify them for entry into alternative certification programs. The PRAXIS I asks candidates to demonstrate their basic knowledge in reading, writing, and math, and must be taken by all certification candidates.
Candidates must also complete PRAXIS II content examinations based on their specialization area. More information on the PRAXIS examinations and study material may be found on the Educational Testing Service's website.
During their alternative teacher education programs, candidates are given multiple opportunities to experience life as a teacher.
During the first phase of their programs, candidates receive on-the-job supervision by assigned mentors, who help them navigate entry-level challenges for teachers. This phase includes orientation to the policies and curriculum of an employing school district.
The second phase of their programs involves critiques and more on-the-job supervision, ensuring improvement. At the end of phase two, the school will write the alternative program teacher a written report determining how much progress has been made.
The third phase includes additional supervision for another 20 weeks, making sure that an alternative program teacher is meeting all standards and comprehending all instruction.
The receive your alternative teaching certification, applicants must complete Form 25.
The application form requires candidates fill out all required information, including degrees, employment, previous licenses held, and contact information. Candidates must also report their school district employers and endorsement levels they are seeking certification for.
Applicants should have their school superintendents verify that they are qualified for the teaching position, recommending the applicants for certification.
Applicants should mail their completed forms in addition to a $25 processing fee and a $45 fingerprinting processing fee to the West Virginia Department of Education at:
All applicants for teaching positions in West Virginia must submit to a background check by completing Form 7 and including it in their application packets.
Form 7 verifies that you release any information found during your background check to the Department of Education.
In addition to completing Form 7, first-time applicants must request and turn in fingerprinting cards from the DOE. Applicants can request fingerprint cards and complete them at their local police stations or county boards of education.
For more information on the alternative teaching certification process, see the DOE alternative certification website. The certification office may also be contacted over the phone at 1-800-982-2378.